Last year when I rid our house of BPA-plastics, I wondered about melamine children’s dishes. You know, those hard plastic kids plates and bowls with cute painted designs? They are what everyone uses for kid’s tableware. Safe or toxic?
I scoured the Internet for info on the safety of melamine for children, but came up with few hard facts: melamine is NOT dishwasher safe or microwave safe (something about the heat can cause dangerous fumes), melamine dishes are a polymer (that means combo) of melamine and formaldehyde, and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. These few facts did not boost my confidence. Since my thought is to err on the side of caution when it comes to man made chemicals and my children, I decided to donate the melamine. Since then, my 3-year-old has been using ceramic plates (none broken yet!) and my toddler has been eating out of Bambu Bowls (available at EuphoriaBaby.com).
Now, months later, I received an interesting email from Healthy Child Healthy World. They noted that the FDA states that no level of melamine is safe for infant formula. Considering that the FDA thinks BPA-emitting plastics are safe (yah right!), this makes one wonder why they’re taking such a strong stand on melamine. Any research will reveal that melamine leaches its constituents into food and beverages(especially those that are acidic or warm) when used. In the past, experts have claimed that this chemical would be safe in small amounts. However, those experts always seem to forget about the dangers of cumulative exposure and unpredictable reactions when different chemicals converge within the body.
This June, The National Toxicology Program declared that more research is needed on the safety of melamine and that a recommendation needs to be developed. I can see where this is going. If you are still using your cute melamine dishes, you may want to consider donating them or relegating them to the play kitchen or sandbox. For the youngest ones, use wooden or stainless steel dishes. And, let your older ones use ceramic dishes – a few broken dishes is well worth their health, and your child may be more ready for it than you think!